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Southwestern Bald Eagle Management Committee
Guiding Bald Eagle Management in Arizona
Pilot Outreach

Low-flying aircrafts affect bald eagles

Total Number of Human Activities & Low Flying Aircraft recorded at monitored bald eagle nests in Arizona

Table 1. Total number of human activities and low-flying aircraft recorded at monitored bald eagles nests in Arizona 1998-2008, and the percentage of low-flying aircraft (LFA) among all activities.

Total number of significant responses by eagles to all human activities

Table 2. Total number of significant responses by eagles to all human activities and to low-flying aircraft (LFA), and percentage of significant responses to LFA.


Other low-flying aircraft research on bald eagles in Arizona
  • Helicopters elicited the greatest frequency of response (47%), followed by military jet fighters (31%) and light fixed-wing planes (26%) (Grubb & Bowerman 1997).
  • Frequency of response by eagles (23-61%) and frequency of flushing (2-13%) both increased through the nesting season from February to June (Grubb & Bowerman 1997).
  • Eagles had a response frequency of 42% to aircraft within 0.39 miles distance, which increased to 65% within 0.11 miles distance (Grubb & King 1991).
  • A response was observed in 33% of the events of potentially disturbing aircraft activity within 1.25 miles of breeding bald eagles; i.e. alert 29%, flight 3%, departure 1%; median distance 0.34 miles (Grubb & King 1991).
  • For light planes the response was 27% (alert, flight, departure: 25%, 1% and 1%), median distance 0.43 miles (Grubb & King 1991).
  • For helicopters the response was 47% (alert, flight, departure: 36%, 9% and 2%), median distance 0.25 miles (Grubb & King 1991).
Literature cited:

Grubb, T.G., and W.W., Bowerman. 1997. Variation in Breeding Bald Eagle Responses to Jets, Light Planes and Helicopters. Journal of Raptor Research 31:213-222.

Grubb, T.G., R .M. King. 1991. Assessing human disturbance of breeding Bald Eagles with classification tree models. Journal of Wildlife Management 55:500-511.

Wildlife Strikes to Civil Aircraft in the United States 19902013. July 2014. Federal Aviation Administration National Wildlife Strike Database Serial Report Number 20. Report of the Associate Administrator of Airports Office of Airport Safety and Standards Airport Safety and Certification. Washington, D.C.